Soul/Spirit/Body of Man

    The definition of “soul” — given through Joseph Smith years prior to his translation of the Book of Abraham — was the “spirit and the body” together: And the spirit and the body is the soul of man (T&C 86:2). Christ, as well as the “noble and great,” were all embodied and therefore resurrected beings before this world. They were “souls.” Now the Lord had shewn unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was, and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones. And God saw these souls, that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them (Abraham 6:1).1 Joseph Smith said, “God made a tabernacle and put a spirit into it, and it became a living soul. (Refers to the old Bible.) How does it read in the Hebrew? It does not say in the Hebrew that God created the spirit of man. It says, ‘God made man out of the earth and put into him Adam’s spirit, and so became a living body.’”2 (Cf. Genesis 2:11: And I, the Lord God, formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into Adam his spirit or the breath of life, and man became a living soul, the first flesh upon the Earth, the first man also.) “In tracing the thing to the foundation and looking at it philosophically, we shall find a very material difference between the body and the spirit. The body is supposed to be organized matter, and the spirit by many is thought to be immaterial, without substance. With this latter statement we should beg leave to differ and state that spirit is a substance, that it is material, but that it is more pure, elastic, and refined matter than the body — that it existed before the body, can exist in the body, and will exist separate from the body, when the body will be moldering in the dust, and will in the resurrection be again united with it. Without attempting to describe this mysterious connection and the laws that govern the body and spirit of man, their relationship to each other, and the design of God in relation to the human body and spirit, I would just remark that the spirits of men are eternal, that they are governed by the same priesthood that Abraham, Melchizedek, and the apostles were: that they are organized according to that priesthood which is everlasting — without beginning of days or end of years [Hebrews 1:17] — that they all move in their respective spheres and are governed by the law of God, that when they appear upon the earth they are in a probationary state and are preparing, if righteous, for a future and a greater glory.”3

    1 Preserving the Restoration, 304n796.

    2 TPJS, 352–353; WJS, 346, 352, 359; WWJ, 2:385.

    3 TPJS, 207–208.